Boxing, a grave business!

Our new reporter Toni Arthur-Hay interviews local resident Tommy Bowers

Nasseem Hamed narrowly won on points in his most recent boxing match. I doubt if Tommy Bowers of Northwold was watching. 'Boxing nowadays is not boxing to my idea. It's slogging and the one who slogs the hardest is the winner. And I don't believe in that. I believe in hitting somebody and not getting hit back. Anybody can get knocked about. When you think of me - I've had 500 fights - and I don't think I look as if I was knocked about.'. Certainly there's no cauliflower ear, no obviously smashed nose and no scars around the eyebrows. However, throughout his 20 years as a boxer he did break his nose 8 times and have numerous blackened and cut eyes. Did this hurt? 'Well, I can't say it don't and I can't say it do. It's just part of it. Something you have to put up with.' Any other reason why he doesn't watch the modern pugilist? 'Well, I got no words for how they dress or how they behave. They're animals - just animals.' Tommy is a man to tell it as it is - he doesn't pull any punches.
For Tommy boxing was a way to get extra cash for his ambition. He wanted to better himself. 'I started work on a pig farm when I was 14 years old when I hadn't to go to school no more. My first weeks pay was 12 shillings (60p). I gave 8 shilling to me mum and had 4 shillings for my pocket money. I had a rise from pigs to looking after the horses -  bigger animals not bigger pay. Anyway, I was walking up and down behind two big plough horses everyday, and there wasn't much to do so I go to thinking. I could read and I could write (his mother had taught him), and that was about my limit. I wondered what I was going to do for the rest of my life. I loved being a ploughboy but I just couldn't see any chance of improving myself.' It was then that fate came to his aid in the guise of a postman.
One dark night two strangers were beating up an old man. Tommy made a successful intervention which was seen by the local postman. The postman was so impressed he fixed up a proper boxing match. 'I fought a man old enough to be my father and knocked him out in the second round. I got 7 shillings and sixpence for that. Wally Dakin, the promoter, saw me in this fight and he fixed me up with another fight at the Village Sports at

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